Courtroom Ten
Location information

Level 10, Ministry of Magic Headquarters, Whitehall, London, England


Ministry of Magic


Courtroom Ten, also known as the Ministry Trial Chamber[1], is one of the Ministry of Magic courtrooms on Level Ten, one floor below the Department of Mysteries. It was used by the Council of Magical Law and the Wizengamot, and has held four known hearings.


The 1981 hearings in Courtroom Ten

After Lord Voldmort's fall in 1981, then Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Barty Crouch Sr., with help of Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, rounded up a number of accused Death Eaters, including Igor Karkaroff, Ludo Bagman, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange, and even Crouch's son of the same name, to be tried and sent to Azkaban.

Igor Karkaroff's hearing

Karkaroff: "You must understand that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named operated always in the greatest secrecy…we never knew the names of every one of our fellows – He alone knew exactly who we all were –"
Mad-Eye: "Which was a wise move, wasn't it, as it prevented someone like you, Karkaroff, from turning all of them in."
— Karkaroff turns in his fellow Death Eaters[src]
File:Karkaroff denounces Snape.jpg

Igor Karkaroff at his hearing.

Mad-Eye captured Igor Karkaroff some time after 1981, and the Death Eater was sent to Azkaban, until Karkaroff gave up the names of a number of his fellow Death Eaters in exchange for a lighter sentence. He mentioned the names of Antonin Dolohov, Evan Rosier, Travers, Mulciber, and Severus Snape, all of whom seemed to have already either been killed, captured, or defected, until he called the name of Augustus Rookwood. Rookwood was an Unspeakable, and a double-agent, spying on the Ministry for Voldemort. This was news to the Ministry, but Karkaroff was sent back to Azkaban, pending a review into Rockwood's case; when Karkaroff's allegations proved true, he was released, and went on to take the position of Headmaster of Durmstrang Institute.

Ludovic Bagman's hearing

Some time after the First Wizarding War, Ludovic "Ludo" Bagman was put on trial for passing information to Death Eater double-agent, Augustus Rookwood. According to Bagman, he did not know that Rookwood was a Death Eater, stating that Rookwood was an old friend of his father. Rookwood had persuaded Bagman to give him information in return with promises of a future career in the Ministry, and Bagman had obliged, fully believing the Rockwood was working only for the Ministry. Much to Crouch's disappointment, Bagman was cleared of all charges. Bagman eventually became Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports.

The Lestranges and Bartemius Crouch Jr.

"The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us in Azkaban; we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!"
—Bellatrix at her trial[src]

Some time in 1981, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jr. tortured the Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom for information pertaining to Voldemort's location. The Longbottoms were tortured to insanity and permanently incapacitated at St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, and the Death Eaters responsible were caught and put on trial.

"Father, I didn't! I didn't, I swear it, Father, don't send me back to the Dementors... No! Mother, no! I didn't do it, I didn't do it, I didn't do it, I didn't know! Don't send me there, don't let him! I'm your son! I'm your son!"
—Barty Crouch Jr. pleading with his father at his trial.[src]

All four were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison; due to this attack being one of the most vile acts within history, the entire court was cheering viciously on Crouch's decision. Upon hearing the sentence, Crouch Jr. attempted to deny his involvement with Death Eaters, pleading for his father's mercy, to which the senior Bartemius Crouch replied, "you're no son of mine," and sent him to Azkaban with the Lestranges. As they were being carted off, Bellatrix declared her unwavering loyalty to Voldemort, as well as her belief that he would return for her family and Crouch; indeed, all four Death Eaters had been freed with the Dark Lord's help by 1996, though Barty Crouch Jr. had already been smuggled out of Azkaban with his father's help by 1982, and was later freed from his father's Imperius Curse by Voldemort in 1994.

Disciplinary hearing of Harry Potter in 1995


Cornelius Fudge presides over Harry Potter's hearing.

Harry Potter: "But the letter said..."
Kingsley Shacklebolt: "Dumbledore has persuaded the Minister to suspend your expulsion, pending a formal hearing."
Kingsley Shacklebolt and Harry Potter on the latter's hearing[src]

Starting in 1995, the Ministry ran a smear campaign again Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore. Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic, Dolores Umbridge, sent two Dementors to Little Whinging in an attempt to silence Harry from continually contradicting the Ministry's official position denying the return of Lord Voldemort. Harry was able use the Patronus Charm to ward of the Dementors before they were able to perform the Kiss on him, or his cousin, Dudley Dursley. Harry was initially expelled, but, at Dumbledore's insistence, was given a formal hearing. The time and location of the hearing were changed at the last minute, in the hopes of causing Harry to miss it, but with the help of Arthur Weasley and a Ministry employee named Perkins, Harry managed to get to the hearing just a few minutes late. Cornelius Fudge, who made few attempts to disguise his agenda, threatened him with expulsion from Hogwarts, but was Harry exonerated with the help of Albus Dumbledore as his defence, the testimony of Arabella Figg, and the impartiality of Amelia Bones and various other members of the Wizengamot.

The accused


File:Courtroom Ten.jpg

An aerial view of the Courtroom as it appeared during Harry Potter's hearing in 1995.

The room was square with benches rising in levels along each wall.[2] It was made by black stone and lit by torches.[2] The room held at least 200 people,[2] including 50 at the far wall which had the highest rising benches.[3] At least two doors led to the room, one opposite the high benches which led to the dungeons outside,[3] and one in the corner from which the accused was brought in.[2] In the centre of the room is a chair for the defendant, with chains on the armrests that bind down whoever sits in it;[2] During Harry's disciplinary hearing, the chains clinked threateningly, but did not bind him.[3]

Behind the scenes

  • The courtroom looks considerably different in the films than what was described in the books. The walls are not made of dark stone but rather of flaky plaster with various murals. The room is not lit by torches but rather by four large fire bowls behind the stands. The chair does not have chains, and in the fourth film the chair was replaced by a spiked cage in which the accused stood, rather than sat. There is only one door, rather than two.
  • When designing the courtroom, production designer Stuart Craig looked to the architectural style developed in the 5th century Byzantine Empire, which featured multiple domes and round arches. He wanted the look of the courtroom to contrast with the Medieval Gothic architecture of Hogwarts Castle.[4]
  • The marble tile on the floor was created using a centuries-old process employed in making covers and for hand-printed books. Different-colored oil paints are poured onto the surface of a large tray filled with water. The paint floats and is swirled around with a stick. When paper sheets are places on the surface, they pick up the swirls of oil paint. Lifted and turned over, they look exactly like veined marble. The illusion is made complete with brushwork that adds further layer of textural detail to produce a convincing replica of a marble floor. This process would be used again to create the marble floor of Gringotts Bank in the eighth film.[4]
  • The set used for the courtroom underwent many changes between the fourth and fifth films. The most notable of changes were the expansion of the set (production designer Stuart Craig explains that the octagonal design of the courtroom was doubled while maintaining the symmetry) and the spiked cage in which the accused stood was replaced with a wooden chair. Less obvious changes include an extra row of seating being added, the Minister's bench being made larger and higher and the archway leading into the courtroom being replaced with a black door that matches the rest of the doors at the Ministry headquarters; the doorway also was raised a few feet and is now accessed by a short flight of wooden steps. The set in general looks a lot cleaner and less dingy in the fifth film. There are two possible explanations for these changes: Either the courtroom was renovated between the time of Karakroff's trial (1981) and Harry's hearing (1995), or Harry's hearing could have taken place in a different courtroom altogether. (The set would see another overhaul in the seventh film when it was renovated into the Muggle-Born Registration Commission courtroom which, in the books, is described as a different courtroom).


Notes and references

Wizengamot Courtrooms
Level 10, Ministry of Magic
Courtroom Ten · Muggle-Born Registration Commission courtroom · Ministry Detention Area
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